A master of his craft, Bill Sienkiewcz was the cover artist of the 1980s. From Elektra to Moon Knight, his surreal art defied the norms of the era, but it was his New Mutants run that cemented his legacy.
This is not an investment or speculation post, though I will mention a few key issues. No, today’s article is focused purely on enjoying comic art, and Sienkiewcz is second to none. In this era of variant editions and cover art specialists, his covers would fit in perfectly. While I could fill an entire post on his work on the aforementioned Moon Knight and Elektra artwork, his run from New Mutants #18-31 is what I view as his opus. During that span, he helped redefine the title with his engaging and thought-provoking surrealism.
For the most part, you won’t find major keys in these issues, but that’s not the point. I’ve recommended collecting full runs from particular writers, and the Sienkiewcz New Mutants run belongs in your long boxes because his artistic style is so unique. Here of the best from those 14 issues.
Personally, this may be my favorite Sienkiewcz cover. The portrait of a screaming Legion bursting through a black and white photograph of David Haller defines the character on a psychological level. Of course, that’s what makes Sienkiewcz great – the psychological aspect of his art. With the Legion FX series being a hit, this issue has become much more collectible, but it’s worth having just for that beautiful cover. As far as keys go, this is one of the bigger ones on today’s list thanks to Legion’s first full appearance. Earlier this month, a 9.8 sold for over $130.
Sienkiewcz handled the inks for June Brigman’s cover art in New Mutants #17. By the next issue, he took over both the cover and interior art as well as the inks, and he created a classic piece of comic art in the process. In NM #18, Sienkiewcz and Claremont brought Warlock to the X-mythology as well as adding a dose of horror to the title. The additional maturity in the New Mutants would change the feel of the title for the entire Sienkiewcz run.
It’s hard not to fall in love with this gem. While not a major key, a graded 9.8 sold for an impressive $200 in December 2018. However, a 9.6 only brought $32 in March. What makes it special? It’s the first appearance of Lila Cheney.
Fair market values aside, NM Annual #1 is a brilliant tribute to the science-fiction and fantasy book and movie posters from the 1970s. When I look at the cover, I immediately think of Star Wars and Heavy Metal, and that is the idea behind it, I’m sure.
This is not a key issue by any means, but it’s an intriguing cover with equally impressive interior art. The looming darkness in the background watching over characters straight from a 1950s Disney movie brings a new level of fantasy to the New Mutants. In fact, that childish cartoon fantasy is the theme of the entire comic. This is an overlooked issue that belongs in your collection.
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